Tag Archive: Australia


TAXONOMY
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Tetrapodomorpha
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Pythonidae (Pythons)

Genus/species: Aspidites ramsayi

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Like the black-headed python,
the Woma’s head is unusually narrow for a python. Gray, olive-brown, or red-brown above with darker olive brown to black crossbands on the body. Sides and undersides pale.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Central and southwest Australia. Found in arid zones on sand plains and dune fields. Shelters in hollow logs, animals burrows, or vegetation during the day.

DIET IN THE WILD: A nocturnal hunter of small mammals, ground birds, and lizards. Because it hunts its prey in narrow tunnels, it cannot throw coils around its target. Instead the snake pushes a loop of its body against the prey, crushing it to death against the side of the burrow.

ACADEMY DIET: One rat every 2 weeks. (M Avila, Academy biologist)

REPRODUCTION: Aspidites ramsayi is oviparous, like all pythons. The female coils around the 5–20 eggs, protecting and warming them with heat generated by muscular “shivering” for the 2–3 month incubation period.

CONSERVATION: Listed as endangered on the IUCN’s Red List. Threats include the clearing of land for agriculture and grazing, and perhaps high predation by foxes and feral cats.

The Adelaide Zoo in South Australia is coordinating a captive breeding program with offspring being released to the wild. Active research is aimed at returning the woma to its former range.

REMARKS: The Woma, like its relative the blackheaded python, lacks the heat-sensing pits that border the mouth of most other pythons. The woma is a prized food item for desert Aboriginal people. Hunters follow the track of a woma to its burrow and then dig it out.

References

California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Water Planet Little Water 2018

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/4822587209/in/album-72157662092331262/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink https://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1Z0

Arkive www.arkive.org/woma-python/aspidites-ramsayi/#text=All

IUCN Red List (June, 2008) www.iucnredlist.org

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes (toes, three pointing forward and one back, which facilitates perching).
Family: Estrildidae (weaver-finches)

Genus/species: Erythrura gouldiae

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The upper body (dorsal) is grass-green from the lower nape to the back and wings. The rump is pale blue and the breast is purple. Ventrally the belly is bright yellow, and the bill is whitish, with a red or yellow tip.
The three distinct color variations are individuals having either a red, black or yellow head (all the same species).

Young Gouldian Finches are dull ashy grey on the head and hind neck, becoming olive on the back and tail. The underparts are brown white, paler on chin, and have a faint yellow tinge on the belly. The upper bill is blackish and the lower bill is pinkish. white. Adult colors appear after several months.

(male, red-head)

Gouldian Finch 19577587499_daaa661dd8_k

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Predominantly northern Australia tropical savannah woodland with grassy understory and open wide plains with hollow-bearing Eucalyptus trees.

(male, red-head)

Gouldian Finch Gouldian Finch 19738034016_fc07c6e883_k

DIET IN THE WILD: Grass seeds. In addition they feed on a variety of insects including beetles, termites, flies, flying ants, and spiders.

(female red-head)

 

Gouldian Finch 19141610094_37add50720_k

REPRODUCTION: E. gouldiae nest in tree hollows. Males and females incubate the eggs and help to raise the young. Gouldian finches may produce both the adults incubate the eggs and help to raise the young. Gouldian finches may produce four to eight eggs per clutch.

(young birds, immature colors)

CONSERVATION: IUCN Near Threatened (NT) by habitat modification due to cattle grazing, wildfires and increasing human developments. There are presently estimated to be only 2,500 to 10,000 mature individuals in the wild.

(female black-head)

19141609684_ed98ac2735_k

Color of Life note Sexual Selection
Sexual dichromatism is a form of sexual dimorphism in which males and females differ in color.
The male Gouldian finch is more brightly colors to impress prospective female partners. Ref: California Academy of Sciences, Color of Life exhibit.

References

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/19576167410/in/album-72157652559028013/

California Academy of Sciences Color of Life 2017

ARKive  www.arkive.org/gouldian-finch/erythrura-gouldiae/

Birdlife International www.birdlife.org/datazone/speciesfactsheet.php?id=8695

IUCN  www.iucnredlist.org/details/biblio/22719744/0

Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/1050437/details

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1y1

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fishes)
Order: Ceratodontiformes (Australian lungfishes)
Family: Ceratodontidae (Australian lungfish)

Genus/species: Neoceratodus forsteri

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The brown or olive-brown body is covered with large, bony, overlapping scales. There is some whitish colour on the belly and underside of the head. The dorsal fin originating on the middle of the back is confluent with the caudal and anal fins. The pectoral fins are large and flipper-like just behind the head; the pelvic fins are also flipper-like, situated far back on the body.

3192737183_3ab00093a7_oLength up to nearly 2 m (6 feet)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Queensland, Australia in rivers with low flow in the austral summer, then restricted to pools that remain. During period of drought, it can tolerate stagnant conditions by breathing air, surfacing 1-2 times per hour; however, it lacks the ability to survive dry spells by aestivation; it is a facultative air-breather that will die if forced to depend on air-breathing.

 

3258189601_0fabe418bf_o

DIET IN THE WILD: Omnivorous. They use large, crushing teeth on the palate and lower jaw to feed on frogs, tadpoles, fishes, shrimp, earthworms, snails, aquatic plants and native fruits fallen from trees overhanging the creeks. It uses its electroreceptors on its head to pick up hidden mollusks, worms or crustaceans.

REPRODUCTION: First breeds at around 15 years of age in males and 20 years in females. Juveniles are vulnerable to predatory insect larvae, shrimps, fish and wood ducks. Adults have few or no natural predators

MORTALITY/LONGEVITY: Live to more than 65 years in captivity. Some individuals may live to 100 years. It is protected by law.

REMARKS: It is one of six extant representatives of the ancient air-breathing Dipnoi (lungfishes) that flourished during the Devonian period (about 413–365 million years ago) and is the most primitive surviving member of this lineage.

The oldest specimen at the California Academy of Sciences (“Methusela”) arrived from the Melbourne Zoo in 1938. It was half its current size at the time. This species most resembles lungfish fossil forms.

Unlike the African lungfish, this species cannot survive dry spells through estivation. Although the lung supplements the gills during times of oxygen stress, it cannot survive solely by breathing air. The Australian lungfish has only a single lung; the other two lungfish species have paired lungs.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Water is life

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/2996214117/in/album-72157662094208792/

Fishbase  fishbase.org/summary/4512

ADW animaldiversity.org/accounts/Neoceratodus_forsteri/classi…

EOL eol.org/pages/339109/details

Australian Government  www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicspecies…

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1J0

 

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